Resorts World Cruises: The Asian tiger leaping into 2024

Susan Parker speaks with president Michael Goh about the fledgling brand and how its deep understanding of the Asian cruise market is driving early success 

Resorts World Cruises: The Asian tiger leaping into 2024

By Alex Smith |

Resorts World Cruises (RWC) was launched in 2022 and the company has wasted no time in getting up and running, as its president Michael Goh explains: “In less than two years we have developed over 16 different destinations, expanding very rapidly with 11 representative offices in Asia.” 

Starting in Singapore with Genting Dream sailing to Malaysia (where it also operates a dual homeport at Port Klang) and Thailand, RWC moved on to expand its fleet, adding Resorts World One (formerly SuperStar Virgo and Explorer Dream), which homeports in Hong Kong and calls at destinations in Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, China and the Philippines.  

Passenger being greeted at cruise port

Although the itineraries are short, they are designed to enable passengers to book two voyages either back-to-back, or with a stopover in the homeport in between sailings. As the only Asian cruise line, RWC is able to shape and cater to market demand, says Goh.  

“Since we started RWC, the response from the market has been very positive,” says Goh. “We recorded 115 per cent to 120 per cent occupancy on the first ship and, so far, 100 per cent on the second. We are very excited when we see that because a segment of the market that previously did not cruise before, younger people, are coming onboard and cruising with us. We see a change in the market and to the consumer profile as well.” 

The brand has also found that passengers who sailed on Resorts World One when it operated as Explorer Dream are excited to reboard the ship and renew acquaintances with the crew, many of whom have also returned. 

Operating voyages from Singapore and Hong Kong also makes RWC attractive to international travellers, who benefit from good flight connections to destinations worldwide and readily available accommodation. The passenger demographic is already running with a 70 per cent fly-cruise international market and 30 per cent domestic guests, according to Goh.  

He is not phased by the prospect of competition as the Asian cruise market continues to reopen. “I see it in a positive way,” he says. “More cruise lines being active also means there is more publicity, so the market expands and there will be more awareness. With everyone putting resources into promoting cruises, the penetration of cruise will be much higher. I think the penetration in Asia is still quite small so definitely there is appetite to continue to grow the pie. 

“Secondly for RWC, we are the only Asian brand here and the group has over 50 years’ experience. We understand what customers want and continue to renew the experience and tailor it to their preferences.” 

The company put a lot of effort into theming the onboard experience, with the ships being equipped with a plethora of outdoor facilities, a spa, different food and beverage outlets, spaces and entertainment for families, and more. “To me, the onboard experience is the most important element of a cruise,” says Goh.  

Resorts World One in port

RWC also recognises the vital importance of delivering a high-quality landside experience, especially in homeports. “The authorities and tourism boards are very supportive in terms of growing the cruise business and meticulous about the tourism experience so that is at the top of our platform, to work with local authorities to create  
the experience we want to provide,” says Goh. 

However, like many other cruise brands, RWC would like to see improvements to the visa requirements asked for by the countries the ships visit. Goh says: “We seek authority attention to simplify the experience for the customer.” 

Goh is optimistic for 2024 and the future and is in no doubt as to RWC’s path ahead. “We have to build up a good brand that will grow and be successful. We want to continue our presence in Asia. We want to continue to be our customers’ preferred cruise line, driven by the experience they have when they come onboard our cruise ships.” 

Future expansion is in the pipeline too. “We will, at the right time and in the right place,” says Goh. “We don’t rule out any possibility and we will continue to look for the opportunity.”

This article was first published in the Spring/Summer 2024 issue of  Cruise & Ferry Review. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed. Subscribe  for FREE to get the next issue delivered directly to your inbox.  

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